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Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - Issue 8 8 Delgado Unseats Congressman Faso - But Won’t Commit to Pelosi Metzger Defeats Rabbitt for State Senate Very High Voter Turnout Reported Throughout County Story and photos by Rich Klein Jeffersonville, November 7 -- Republican Congressman John Faso of Kinderhook lost his 19th Congressional District seat by 7,593 votes last night to Democrat Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck (photo at right), while Ulster County’s Jen Metzger defeated Orange County Clerk/former Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt for the 42nd Senatorial District to take the seat vacated by Republican John Bonacic. Metzger (photo at left), a councilwoman from Rosendale, won by by 2,522 votes and was sent over the top just after midnight when the last of the Orange County precincts reported. Voter turnout across Sullivan County for a midterm election was reported as record-breaking in places like Liberty and Bethel, “above normal” at Callicoon’s polling station in Jeffersonville and, in Youngsville, “more than double” compared to past midterm elections, according to volunteers at each of those polling stations. In both races, history was made as Delgado - who is half African-American and half Latino - became the first person of color to win that seat while Metzger becomes the first woman to represent the 42nd District. And, both Delgado, 41, and Metzger, 53, will start work in January as part of the
Some of the after-work voting crowd on Sprague Avenue in Liberty last night.
majority because Democrats flipped the House of Representatives as well as the New York State Senate, which had been in Republican control for about a decade. Delgado -- a lawyer and Rhodes scholar who grew up in Schenectady just beyond the 19th District’s border -won with a huge war chest and relentless grass roots campaign that proved too much for Faso, the former member of the State Assembly. Former Vice President Joe Biden, considered by many to be the Democratic frontrunner for the White House in 2020, also helped motivate the region’s Democratic base by visiting Kingston on October 26 to stump for Delgado. “This is about the character of the nation,” Biden said of the midterms that day. “It’s about who we are as Americans.” Heavy Democratic turnout throughout the District appeared, in part, to be a pushback on racist ads placed on behalf of Faso by a Super PAC (political action committee) a few months before the general election that received nationwide attention. The ads were played continuously and Faso never adequately distanced himself from them. Faso also tried to portray Delgado as an outsider because he moved into the District from New Jersey last year - and that also was a failed campaign tactic, particularly since Faso moved from Long Island to Kinderhook in 1983 to run for an open Assembly seat. But the future of accessible and affordable healthcare, as well as a referendum on the personality and policies of President Trump, were also central to Delgado’s win. In Sullivan, Faso edged Delgado by just 488 votes -- and that margin was supposed to be much higher. In fact, Delgado likely would have won Sullivan had it not been for third-party candidates Steven Greenfield and Diane Neal who received 311 and 190 votes, respectively. Delgado also got a big boost from his former primary opponents that included Greene County’s Brian Flynn of tiny Elka Park and Ulster County’s Gareth Rhodes of Kerhonkson, the top primary vote-getter in Sullivan and who placed second in the primary overall. Both played a role in increasing Delgado’s name recognition and, particularly, in some of the rural towns and villages across the County.
In separate interviews today, Flynn and Rhodes praised the integrity and abilities of Delgado. “As a sparring partner and as someone who has become a friend and supporter, he is that good of a guy,’’ Flynn said. “He genuinely believes in the issues that matter to the people in the district. These things matter to him personally. We disagree on some policies but his values are strong and I trust him and think constituents trust him to do the right thing. “ Flynn added that Faso’s seat was viewed by experts as extremely vulnerable even when his primary race began. Rhodes, who is taking the New York State Bar exam in February, said “our congressional district was the most organized in the country” and that was evident in early 2017 with many groups coming together, he said. Both Flynn and Rhodes also agreed that the racist ads put out on Faso’s behalf indeed backfired and only motivated Democrats to show up in even greater numbers at the polls. With the House flipped and with Nancy Pelosi poised to become Speaker again, Melissa Toufanian, a spokesperson for Delgado, said: “He (Delgado) has not pledged his support to anyone. The only people he is beholden to are the people of NY-19. “ In Metzger’s race, she received 10,525 votes to Rabbit’s 11,780 in Sullivan, where there are a total of 46,643 registered votes. Town of Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante, the new chair of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee, said Metzger’s victory could be attributed to “hard work and retail politics..and she was on the ground a lot in Sullivan.” He noted that while he was “a little disappointed” that Metzger didn’t perform better here, he was “thrilled that she is going to be our new Senator.” Vegliante added that there is a large “anti-Cuomo bend here” that might have cost some votes and “that’s something we Democrats have to work on.” Rhodes also campaigned heavily for Metzger in Sullivan-- and praised her as a person and candidate. “With Democrats’ leadership in the state solidified, New York can pass policies previously blocked by Republicans to expand health care coverage, address climate change, and ensure women retain the right to make their own medical decisions,” Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, told The Legislative Gazette today. “New York will once again be a progressive beacon as Democrats continue to build the blue wall of resistance against Washington Republicans’ extremist agenda.” Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Westchester will be the new Senate Majority Leader, the first African-American and woman to hold that position. In other major races, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo won his third term (same as his late father, Mario) by easily defeating Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro (by 22 points) and the new Attorney General is Democrat Leticia James, the first woman and the first African-American elected to that office. She was serving as the Public Advocate of New York City and was favored by Cuomo. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, won a second full term by trouncing Republican Chele Farley by more than 30 points. Democratic Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther ran unopposed in winning her eight consecutive general election following her 2003 special election win over Republican Alan Sorensen, the current majority leader of the Sullivan County Legislature. N ew York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat, won re-election by defeating Republican Jonathan Trichte with nearly 60 percent of the vote. The Sullivan Times on T uesday evening interviewed some voters as they exited their polling stations. Edward Sostak, a pastor and retired teacher who is a lifelong resident of White Sulfur Springs, said he came out to vote to support candidates “who are going to continue to make us a Godly nation.” Although he would not divulge who he voted for, he said, “clearly Conservative issues that have to do with Biblical
values were on my mind.” John Brandon,74, a former member of the New York City Human Rights Commission who has lived in Liberty with his wife, Minnie, for 15 years, said this election “was a major one because of what’s happening in the country now. We need to get people in who understand the issues. We need to get out of this rut.” He said he voted for Delgado and Metzger based on what he’s read and what others said about them.
Some Sullivan voters left to right: Melissa Rodriguez, John Brandon, Margaret Diez, Michael Conklin and Edward Sostak.
Neversink resident Michael Conklin, 20, who works at the Center For Discovery, said of his generation: “I don’t think Democracy is failing...I think we are failing democracy.” He said that the economy was an important issue to him. “Who I voted for doesn’t matter, but the vote was placed. “ Margaret Diez, a Liberty native who is a junior at SUNY-Oneonta, said she drove 90 miles from college just to vote in her hometown. “People say they want a voice but don’t vote and that’s why I came (home) to vote, “ Diez said. “I’m a Democrat but also vote for Independents. “ She said that the issues that are of most important to her are women’s rights and wanting increased gun restrictions to keep kids safe, since she is an education major and doesn’t want her future students to be afraid to come into the classroom. She also noted her concern over President Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policy. Jodi Lieberman, an elementary school teacher in Liberty for 30 years, said she and her husband, Paul, are registered Republicans and voted Republican across the board. “Every vote counts and we have to make America a better place. What’s important to me is a safer place for all our kids. I think gun control is a big issue for me. Every kid that comes to school should feel safe. Every kid who that goes into a movie theater should feel safe.’’ Paul Lieberman, a small business owner, said he voted for Faso because he is pro-business and he wants less taxes and less government and thought Faso did a good job in his freshman term.
Melissa Rodriguez, 33, who works in a nursing home and who has lived in Liberty since 2004, said she cast all her votes for Democrats. She said “I’m tired of Republicans kicking us around. They should think of the little people more. “ Rodriguez said that she especially liked what she heard about Metzger. “She seems to be there for us and make it better for those in poverty and for everyone to be more equal rather than making us feel different from each other. We are all the same.” Scott Olsen, 32, a correction officer who grew up in North Branch, said “it’s an important mid term” and that he came out in particular to cast a vote against Governor Cuomo. “There’s lot of issues with the governor and a lot of controversy surrounding him,” Olsen said. “He gives off an anti-law enforcement aura...that’s a huge thing. Asked to elaborate, he said Cuomo hasn’t sufficiently supported correction officers and pointed to a state contract offered by the State a few years ago that correction officers rejected. Olsen thinks the governor has retailated since then “with tighter restrictions imposed on officers and more freedom given to inmates. If a prisoner attacks an officer, it’s now a slap on wrist.” Olsen also said he is “pro gun” but “I’m not sure everyone should own a machine gun.” Olsen added that there’s lots of misinformation about firearms. “We train with AR-15s,” he said, “and they are no different than a semi-automatic hunting rifle ...they just look different. A gun is no more dangerous than a hammer. It’s a tool. “ Youngsville Fire Chief Jonathan McGibbon, 28, didn’t have to go far to vote since the polling station was his firehouse. “I think we need a change,” said McGibbon, a registered Democrat who was about to vote “straight Republican.” He added that more and more people are leaving the state because of taxes and that local businesses need more help. He said he voted for Trump because “he speaks the truth.” He also met and liked Rabbitt, who he said wanted to “help organizations like fire departments and ambulance corps.”
EDITORIAL With Election Day behind us, we remain a divided nation. Civility and kindness matter and we urge all our elected officials -- incumbents and newcomers -- to work harder to change the tone of our political dialogue. Personal animosities and fighting old political battles, too, stand in the way of achieving critical bipartisan legislation at every level of government that will make life better for all Americans. Most importantly, the bigotry and bullying that has been allowed to fester must end - in our government, in our homes and in our businesses. It’s not enough to be silent or to look the other way when a child or adult is ridiculed for their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We all want affordable healthcare and education, a strong, growing economy with higher wage jobs, and safety in our communities and for our nation. With the spirit of the holiday season approaching, let’s focus more on those shared desires. The Sullivan Times Editor & Publisher: Rich Klein PO Box 502 Jeffersonville NY 12748 email@example.com Follow Us On Facebook and Instagram
This is a special post-Election Day issue.